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Posted inArts & Culture

Rough Crossing

Rough Crossing, Writer’s Theatre. Tom Stoppard double-crosses the audience in this flamboyant 1985 adaptation of Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnar’s 1924 The Play’s the Thing. A pastiche of low comedy styles jumbled together with egghead observations, Stoppard’s script is part Rodgers and Hart musical comedy, part slapstick farce, and part metatheatrical exploration of reality and fiction. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Harmonica Khan

Born George Meares in 1934, Harmonica Khan spent much of the 50s and 60s shuttling between his native North Carolina and the urban northeast, working day jobs and various gigs as a nightclub entertainer. He moved to Chicago in the late 60s, where as “Harmonica Kid” he sat in at venues such as the Trocadero […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sleeping Beauty, Too!

Sleeping Beauty, Too!, Comedy-Sportz. My life in the theatah, as they say, began around the age of five, when my parents dragged me to Niles for a live version of The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Though my recollection’s mostly faded, the image of Peter himself is indelible: careening through the house and enlisting every giggling, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Illusion

The Illusion, Wing & Groove Theatre. What makes Pierre Corneille’s meditation on the nature of love–filial, romantic, and mercenary–beguiling to audiences nearly four centuries after its premiere is Tony Kushner’s adaptation, which weaves in sly observations on modern society. What makes it irresistible to actors is the challenge of projecting a natural appearance during scenes […]

Posted inArts & Culture

This Side of Angels

This Side of Angels, Breadline Theatre. Ever since Tony Kushner’s Angels in America was enshrined as a classic of American theater, playwrights have decided that angels can be a highbrow subject. Unfortunately, damn few of them possess the biting wit and political acumen that make Kushner’s work so memorable. Paul Kampf is the latest local […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Stories Michael Braithwaite, owner of the Love World sex shop in the mountain village of Putney, Kentucky, recently underwent a religious conversion and burned $10,000 worth of vibrators, leather toys, and porn paraphernalia, then renamed the store Mike’s Place and started selling Bibles and other Christian items. And according to a January report in […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Dave Frishberg

Thirtysomethings met Dave Frishberg while watching Schoolhouse Rock, for which he wrote a clever introduction to the legislative process, “I’m Just a Bill.” But their hipper parents and older siblings already knew Frishberg’s quirky lyrics from tunes like “Blizzard of Lies” (a hilarious catalog of the outright falsehoods we tell every day), “My Attorney Bernie” […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Torkel Korling

Torkel Korling was one of America’s most important industrial photographers, but his first love was botany, which helps explain his work’s precise beauty. Among the 26 Korling photos in Stephen Daiter Gallery’s “Big Shoulders” exhibit are four untitled cityscapes that showcase his eye for geometry. My favorite is a 1930s image of two streetcars on […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Trio Reykjavikur

Bjork may be Iceland’s best-known musical product, but the country also has a lively classical music scene. Violinist Gudny Gudmundsdottir and cellist Gunnar Kvaran, the married couple who formed Trio Reykjavikur in 1988, are among that nation’s most prominent musicians and teachers–Gudmundsdottir has been the Iceland Symphony Orchestra’s concertmaster for almost three decades. Their playing […]

Posted inArts & Culture

KRS-One

As you might expect of a rapper who’s spent a good chunk of the past decade speaking at colleges, KRS-One tends to lecture his audience. As you might also expect, the audience doesn’t always appreciate that. After he chastised chart topper Nelly last year, the younger MC’s response (as a guest on Freeway’s “Roc da […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Looking Through Walls

Three years ago Sharon Rosenbloom brought her children to Thomas Balsamo’s Barrington photo studio for a portrait. Rosenbloom’s son, Joey, is autistic; in order to help Balsamo connect with him, she began explaining some things about autism. That conversation bore fruit last month with the publication of Souls: Beneath and Beyond Autisim, a collection of […]